NASA Asteroid Missions

Asteroid day is celebrated every day at NASA. We are constantly gazing to the sky, from expeditions to asteroids in our solar system – some of which even return samples to Earth – to attempts to locate, track, and monitor near-Earth objects and safeguard our planet from possible impact dangers.

Several ambitious missions to investigate unusual asteroids will be launched in the coming years. 

In October and November 2021 NASA will be launching, 

    • Lucy is the Trojan Asteroids' First Mission
    • These primordial entities may contain crucial insights about the solar system's past, as well as the beginnings of biological stuff on Earth.

    • NASA has entrusted the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), with assistance from several NASA centers including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Johnson Space Center (JSC), Glenn Research Center (GRC), and Langley Research Center (LaRC).
    • DART is a planetary defense-driven test of technology aimed at preventing an asteroid from colliding with Earth. DART will be the first time a kinetic impactor will be used to alter an asteroid's velocity in space. 
    • The DART project is now in Phase C, directed by APL and administered by Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office and the Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, under NASA's Solar System Exploration Program.

Followed by,

    • The Psyche mission will go to a rare metal asteroid that orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. 
    • The asteroid Psyche is unusual in that it seems to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of our solar system's building components.

    • OSIRIS-REx has arrived at the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and is bringing back a tiny sample for examination. 
    • The mission took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on September 8, 2016. 
    • In 2018, the spacecraft arrived on Bennu, and in 2023, it will return a sample to Earth.

    • It has verified infrared sightings of over 39,100 objects in our solar system to far.
    • From December 2009 to February 2011, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was a NASA infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope. 
    • The spacecraft was revived in September 2013, renamed NEOWISE, and given a new mission: to help NASA in identifying and characterizing the population of near-Earth objects (NEO).

You may also want to read more about Space Missions and Systems here.

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